I don’t believe Microsoft Expression ever had a huge following from web developers and graphics designers, but it served a purpose.  Whether you liked it, hated or loved it, Microsoft has done what it does best again.

In case you haven’t visited their website lately, you will notice some major changes with Expression.  Basically, they are rolling the Expression products into Visual Studio 2012 and beyond, forgoing the standalone tools.  For the time being, they made Expression Web 4, Expression Design 4 and Expression Encoder 4 free for download.  That may not be a big deal to some, but I think it could prove useful to some.

I haven’t really used it much before, but the first time I opened Expression Web 4, what struck me how similar the interface looks to SharePoint Designer.  As you know, one of the big things they took away in Designer 2010 was the ability to open a standalone web page.  Sure you have Notepad++, but what if you wanted to get a preview of the html tables and CSS you just wrote?  Do it in Expression. Does it have intellisense?  Yep.  I don’t see the big deal with Expression Design, as any self-respecting graphics person is using InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop, or even Gimp!

It’s not perfect, and who knows if it will be around especially with all the changes in SharePoint Designer 2013, but it’s another tool to have in the bag when needed.  You can find the direct downloads here: